I’ve said it before, you can always tell what holiday is approaching by looking at our house. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or in this case, Halloween…

Halloween House

I joke with Cindy about about all of the work she puts into these decorations (both inside the house and out), but they’re really what makes our “house” a “home”. Someday, when the boys have grown and are on their own or raising families of their own, they’ll look back on these Halloween lights (and all the others) with some nostalgia.

Halloween Door Halloween Window

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Boy

Today I read the announcement from the BSA Board of Directors that they’re expanding the program to allow girls into the Boy Scouts. I’m saddened by this turn of events because I can no longer in good conscience support the scouting program. For me, the BSA is about teaching boys how to be good men. I believe in order to do this, the focus has to be on the boy. I believe adding girls to the program, no matter how well-intentioned, will inevitably result in a change to both the curriculum and the structure.

Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive, says,

“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best – developing character and leadership for young people – to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”

This is a noble goal and I believe the values described in the Scout Oath and Scout Law” represent worthy attributes to develop in both boys and girls. However, executing on this content at the local level is where I see problems arising.

The Board of Directors say the rationale for the change is,

“Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing. Additionally, many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family.”

Again, this is noble, but the Board of Directors says Cub Scouts Dens will remain single-gender, which means for families with boys and girls, there will still be separate meetings. The boy’s den will have their own activities and the girl’s den will have theirs. They may be working on the same adventures, but maybe not at the same time and they will each have their own activities. And if they’re different ages, they will be working on different adventures entirely. How is this supposed to help make things easier for single-parent households or allow communities to participate in activities as a family (incidentally, the BSA already allows this with family campouts, etc.)? I think the only way to achieve this goal is to make the dens co-ed…and that’s exactly where I think this is going. When this happens the social dynamic changes at the basic level and this is where the BSA will lose its identity.

The Board also claims,

“Recent surveys of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts. Education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed relevancy of the program for young women.”

This is great! However, only 10% of boys in the U.S. are currently involved in Scouts. Instead of opening-up the program to girls, why not focus on the 90% of boys in America that could benefit from the BSA’s character and leadership development programs?

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We were expecting rain, but nothing was going to stop our backyard campout.

Tent

As it turns out, we didn’t even get a drizzle. Although it might’ve cooled things off a bit because the air was still a little warm as we headed into the tent. We took the windows down to get the breeze blowing and it soon got more comfortable. …

Anyway, it was still early, so we watched “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” on the iPad…

Tent

Then settled off to sleep…and quite contentedly, I might add.

Sleeping

In the morning, I slipped out of the tent while the boys snoozed and started some coffee.

Coffee

With coffee in hand, I set-up the table and the ol’ Coleman stove to cook our breakfast…

Breakfast

The boys had a good time and thought eating outside was GREAT!

Breakfast

Best buddies…

Best Buds

After breakfast, it was time to take down the campsite. Alex wanted to leave the tent up so we could camp out again tonight, but alas, tomorrow is a school day. Anyway, this was a good opportunity to teach the boys an important aspect of the Cub Scouts outdoor ethics, namely, the “leave no trace” principles, which as the name implies, whenever you’re doing activities outdoors, you leave things as you found them…

Leave No Trace

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There’s no rain today and Adam’s ready to PLAY BALL!

Batter Up

It was a great game and Adam got his first hit on his first time at bat in “kid pitch” baseball. He also stole his first base and was quite pleased with himself. 🙂

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wherein I’m presented with an interesting perspective…

Me: Adam, would you like something to eat?

Adam: Cereal.

Me: What kind?

Adam: The vampire cereal.

Because “Count Chocula” is “The VAMPIRE cereal.”

The Vampire Cereal

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This afternoon, the boys donned their Pack 280 tee-shirts and joined some other scouts from the district for some b.b. gun and archery fun. They learned range safety, proper range commands, and the parts of the b.b. gun and bow and arrow.

The boys almost look like professionals in the prone position shooting at the target. Adam thought it was pretty cool because he could pretend he was a sniper…

This was the first time for both of them on the archery range and once they got comfortable with the proper way to hold the bow and notch the arrow, they did very good. As a lefty, Adam used a regular bow and as you can see, he scored a bullseye…

Alex got to use one of the compound bows and he got three arrows in the outside rings. I thought he had pretty darn good form…

The boys had a real good time and are looking forward to the Cub Scout “Cuboree” at Camp Shands in a couple of weeks where they’ll do more work with B.B. guns and bows and arrows!

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wherein Adam experiences a rainout on the first day of Fall Ball…

Adam: Why did it have to rain?

Me: Hey, buddy, rain is just part of baseball!

Adam: I don’t get it.

Me: Look, baseball is a very simple game: You throw the ball, you hit the ball, you catch the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.** Rain is just part of baseball.

Adam: You’re weird.

Rainout

** with thanks to pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Bull Durham, 1988)

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It’s been two days since Hurricane Irma swept through Florida. There are still a number of people in the state without power and a lot of cleaning-up to do in many of areas. With the exception of schools being closed, things are pretty much back to normal here. In fact, we were still able to keep the boys’ dental cleaning appointments…

But forget the fluoride, they just come here for the games…

At the dentist

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Last night my inlaws (Junior and Linda) evacuated Sarasota with Linda’s daughter and her family. They arrived at our house last night. Hurricane Irma passed over Key West as a Cat 4 storm and entered the Florida penninusla around Marco Island as a Cat 3. At 5 a.m. this morning, she’s a Cat 1 and headed up central Florida.

Hurricane Irma Cone

The wind has been picking-up since about 2 a.m. and is whipping pretty good now. We have a couple of minor leaks, but nothing too serious.

Leak

UPDATE: 8:00 a.m.

Irma is coming through the panhandle now and is somewhere around Lakeland, Florida. It’s still a Cat 1. The wind is really gusting outside, but I’m just sitting here sipping coffee.

Hurricane Irma Cone

UPDATE: 8:00 p.m.

Well, the day is coming to an end. Our evacuees laft after the wind died down (about noon) and headed back to Sarasota. Although we were on the wrong side of the storm, we really dodged a bullet. The original predictions for this storm were pretty bad. As it turns out, we didn’t even lose power. I can’t say the same for a lot of people in NE Florida, though. There are a lot of folks without power and there was a lot of flooding along the river.

Hurricane Irma Cone

Overall, we had very minor damage. A couple of leaks, my pool pump isn’t working (think it might be the capacitor), and the wind pushed over my Big Green Egg…

Big Green Egg

Feeling very fortunate.

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I’m not a smoker, but I do like a good cigar once in a while. Today, I had the opportunity to enjoy a Cuban Montecristo that Cindy picked-up for me in the U.K. Smoooth…

Cubans

Actor, Raul Julia, once said,

“Why pay $100 on a therapy session when you can spend $25 on a cigar? Whatever it is will come back; so what, smoke another one.”

That’s about right.

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